Wednesday, June 23

Best Buy’s sales forecast falls short as tariffs loom

(Reuters) – Best Buy Co Inc (BBY.N) blamed planned U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports and uncertainty about future consumer behavior for a lower annual sales forecast, becoming the latest company to air concerns about President Donald Trump’s trade war with Beijing.

FILE PHOTO: People wait in line to shop at Best Buy during a sales event on Thanksgiving day in Westbury, New York, U.S., November 22, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Best Buy’s shares, which have lost more than 10% of their value so far this month, fell 7.7% in early trade as the consumer electronics retailer’s same-store sales outlook fell short of analysts’ expectations even as it lifted its earnings forecast.

Strong July retail sales showed U.S. consumer demand so far has remained resilient to signs of a cooling economy and an escalating trade war between Washington and Beijing.

However, investors are increasingly focusing on how the sector will cope with new rounds of tariffs with retailers, such as Macy’s Inc (M.N) and Abercrombie & Fitch Co (ANF.N) warning that their profits this year would take a hit.

Best Buy said it expected its full-year same-store sales to rise 0.7% to 1.7%, narrowing the range from a prior forecast of 0.5% to 2.5% and below the 2% growth target analysts had expected.

Last Friday, Trump aid tariffs would rise to 15% from 10% on $300 billion worth of Chinese imports, targeting some of Best Buy’s best selling goods including smart watches, flat panel TVs, mobile phones and video game consoles. The levies are set to go into effect in two phases on Sept. 1. and Dec. 15.

Newly appointed Chief Executive Office Corie Barry said the company was still working out if and how to raise prices on products as it works with suppliers on new sourcing strategies.

“It’s the most difficult place for us to make projections… We don’t exactly have a precedent for the quantity of moving pieces that we have in place right now,” Barry told analysts.

Barry estimated all the proposed and implemented tariffs affected about 60% of Best Buy’s cost of goods sold but said the company was working on lowering that to 40% next year.

Best Buy’s overall same-store sales rose 1.6% in the second quarter ended Aug. 3, missing analysts estimates of a 2.15% increase, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Earnings per share excluding one-off items came at $1.08, beating analysts’ estimates of 99 cents per share and prompted Best Buy to raise its annual adjusted profit forecast to $5.60 to $5.75 per share from previous $5.45 to $5.65$.

Revenue in the reported quarter rose 1.7% to $9.54 billion, a touch below expectations of $9.56 billion, largely due to lower demand for video game consoles, which the company said would also pressure its sales for the rest of the year.

The lower demand is largely due to consumers postponing their purchases in anticipation of the next versions of Sony Corp’s (6758.T) PlayStation and Microsoft Corp’s (MSFT.O) Xbox.

Best Buy also forecast third quarter same-store sales below estimates, but said tariffs would not have much of an impact on the quarter.

Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Tomasz Janowski

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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